Forget trying to learn great pick up lines! If you are a really awkward conversation starter, just move to Mozambique. You'll fit right in! My roomie and I often marvel at the weird ways people get communication going. One method is the one word starter. They just pick a word- any random word-and say it to you and then hand off the conversation baton to you, staring expectingly as if they did their job adequately. My favorites are:
"poeira" (dust) Come on? Are you kidding? That's all you're going to give me to go off of? Dust?
But that's not all! The one word conversation starter can also be used after a huge lull (up to 5 hours in my experience) in conversation to get things fired back up. So lets say you're chatting it up with someone on the chapa, talking about Barak Obama and then the convo stops flowing and even ceases for 5 hours when you're bumping down the road. That person could easily employ the one word convo starter to continue the already-used conversation. Exept this time he doesn't choose a random word. Instead, he selects any word from your previous conversation. For example "Obamaaaaaaa" or "Americaaaaaa" (you evidently must let the word drag) would be used to replay the already-been-used convo.
And my all-time favorite, although less frequently used method, to start a conversation is simply "estamos aqui hoje" (we are here today) cue expectant pause
Really? We are here? Today?
The strangest encounter I have had yet was with one young women who showed up at our door and simply said "they sent me." I was really annoyed besides being a little creeped out, but I didn't let her get the best of me. I waited her out. We stared eachother down in silence until she offered me more to go off of. Then she did the unthinkable. She just repeated herself. It's gonna be like that huh? Alright, lets make this into a game. More silence for you! She repeated herself once more and I wondered if I would be wasting my whole day riding the "they sent me" silence "they sent me" silence train. Fortunately, she eventually caved and explained who sent her and why. Score for that day: Branca: 2, Moz: zip